The healthcare information technology (IT) sector is evolving, albeit slowly. According to the latest study by Technology Business Research (TBR), global market growth in healthcare IT services (HITS) began to rebound in the first quarter of 2015 (1Q15), accelerating 170 basis points sequentially to 6.5 percent on a trailing 12-month basis.
TBR attributes much of the increase to the inorganic impact of the strategic acquisitions made in 2014 by Cognizant (TriZetto) and Cerner (Siemens Health Services).
Net of these acquisitions, TBR estimates average weighted year-to-year growth in 1Q15 would have been between 5.3 percent and 5.6 percent.
"In 2014 TBR observed the electronic health record (EHR) market mature, primarily in North America, as large-scale implementations undertaken in prior years by major provider organizations began to wind down," said John Caucis, senior analyst at TBR.
"However, many providers have discovered, much to to their dismay, that EHR investments made in recent years did not fully provide the means to meet continued challenges related to interoperability, cost and compliance with more rigorous 'meaningful use' requirements," Caucis said.
Providers, at least those with sufficient financial resources, are now turning back to health IT vendors for upgrades to or outright replacement of EHR systems to meet these challenges and to extract the maximum value from the tremendous volume of patient and business data being generated by EHRs.
HITS vendors in 1Q15 continued to make, buy and ally to add or enhance capabilities in emerging growth segments of healthcare IT -- including telehealth, revenue cycle management, population health management, predictive analytics, outsourced IT, and the Internet of Things.
TBR believes security will also become a leading growth driver for HITS vendors in 2015, especially with the continued proliferation of mobile and cloud-based healthcare IT solutions.
Cyber criminals are shifting focus from verticals that have been ahead of the healthcare sector in adopting secure IT systems, such as financial services and retail, to the vast stores of personal data held by payer and provider organizations.
Security breaches at healthcare organizations are expected to increase hastily in 2015, which TBR expects will fuel strong demand for solutions to secure healthcare IT systems.
TBR estimates average healthcare IT services revenue growth will accelerate throughout 2015. The large-scale, strategic acquisitions by Cerner and Cognizant are providing an inorganic boost to average growth and will continue to buoy growth rates through most of 2015.